In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, what ''aberration of nature'' frightens Scout in Chapter Eight?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Chapter Eight brings about an "aberration of nature" that frightens Scout (because in her young life, she has never seen it before) is a snowfall.

Next morning I awoke, looked out the window and nearly died of fright. My screams brought Atticus from his bathroom half-shaven.

"The world's endin', Atticus! Please do something—!" I dragged him to the window and pointed.

"Not it's not," he said. "It's snowing."

(It's amusing and endearing that Scout believes that with the world ending, Atticus might be able to do something about it: she has the faith of a child in a parent, a theme we will see often in the novel. )

The telephone rings and when Atticus returns from the call, he announces that Eula May (the town's operator) had called. He tells the children what Eula May had to say:

"I quote—As it has not snowed in Maycomb County since 1885, there will be no school today.'"

(The year 1885 is not long after the end of the Civil War. The story is set during the 1930s and the Great Depression—it has been a long time since it has snowed in this part of Alabama: something that would understandably stop the "rituals" of an ordinary day.)

The children are encouraged to eat rather than watch the snow outside, but Jem's thoughts quickly turn to building a snowman, which will be a first for both Scout and Jem.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "aberrations of nature" that Scout refers to at the beginning of chapter 8 concerns the unexpected snowfall in Maycomb, Alabama. When Scout wakes up in the morning, she immediately yells for Atticus and believes that the world is coming to an end. Scout has never witnessed a snowfall before and is astonished to see the white flakes coming down from the sky. After Atticus explains to his daughter that it is simply snowing outside, he gets a call from Eula May saying that school is canceled. Jem and Scout spend the rest of the day attempting to build a snowman. Even though there is not much snow that sticks to the ground, Jem improvises by mixing dirt with snow to form a snowman. Jem successfully creates a caricature that initially resembles their overweight neighbor, Mr. Avery. When Atticus arrives home, he tells his son to alter the snowman's appearance so that Jem doesn't offend Mr. Avery. Jem then manages to make the snowman resemble Miss Maudie after he gives it hedge clippers and a sunhat.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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